UK Athletics head coach Christian Malcolm defends Mo Farah’s decision to be on I’m A Celebrity eight months before defending his Olympic 10,000m title as he insists four-time gold medallist is ‘not stupid’
- Christian Malcolm defended Mo Farah’s decision to participate in I’m A Celebrity
- He faces tough task in Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei in Tokyo
- Malcolm did not criticise Farah’s priorities, or those of Paralympian Hollie Arnold
Farah will face arguably the toughest task in athletics when he faces Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei in Tokyo, which makes his call to appear on the reality show all the more baffling.
But when faced with the politically tricky issue of discussing his most high-profile star, Malcolm, the new UK Athletics head coach, refused to criticise Farah’s priorities, or those of Paralympian Hollie Arnold, who is also on the programme.
Christian Malcolm defended Mo Farah’s (L) controversial decision to be on I’m A Celebrity
Malcolm (above), the new UK Athletics head coach, refused to criticise Farah’s priorities
Malcolm, who was contracted to Athletics Australia and was not consulted when Farah committed to filming, said: ‘It is a decision for Mo. He is an experienced athlete who is, I guess, towards the back end of his career, and he’s also looking to position (himself) in something else.
‘And Mo isn’t stupid, let’s get it right. If he felt this was going to really jeopardise his preparation, he wouldn’t be in there, and the same with Hollie as well.’
Farah is on the programme just eight months before defending Olympic 10,000m title from Rio
Malcolm struck a number of positive notes in his first engagement with the media on Wednesday after his arrival was confirmed in September. But he faces a monumental challenge at UKA, which has been hit by a series of crises and is currently without heads of endurance, relays or field events just eight months out from the Olympics.
The 41-year-old’s own appointment was met by scepticism over whether he has sufficient experience for the task, particularly as his selection ahead of Stephen Maguire contributed to the Scot’s decision to leave his existing role as the head of the medal-rich relay programme.
The former Team GB sprinter said: ‘A former British head coach said to me, “Maybe it is one or two years too soon, but you could go for the job in four years and you might be waiting for seven years for the job. You’ve got the right character and if you get the right people around you to support you, you will come through this”. I’ve got the opportunity to move the sport forward.’